Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Movie Games for Cinefiles

People like to play games and have interesting conversations. Combine this with the number of people who love to watch movies, it is natural that people would make conversation games about the film industry. When it comes to "movie conversation games" the giant on the mountain is 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but my wife (Bacon number 3) and I (Bacon number 3) aren't very good at the game. Actually it's surprising given how many movies we've seen, but we aren't very good at the Degrees of Kevin Bacon game.

In case you were wondering...my wife was an extra (and director's assistant) on Chumscrubber which has a large number of Bacon Number 2 stars, and she was also an extra in Sister Act with more Bacon Number 2's. I was an intern on Joy Ride with Steve Zahn (Bacon Number 2).

My wife and I prefer to play a game called "The Life of ____." In this game we treat an actor's career as if it were a single lifetime. For example, after learning how to travel through time and learning history Keanu Reeves becomes depressed after his "princess babe" dies he dates a terminally ill Cherlize Theron. Due to her rejection he studies the occult, attempts suicide, goes to hell, comes back and fights evil as John Constantine. The point of the game is to fill in the gaps of how the "avatar" went from one role to another, but as if they were the same person. This can become difficult when an actor, say John Wayne, plays characters who lived in different time periods.

So my wife and I borrowed a note from the Wold Newton Universe idea, a creaton of Philip Jose Farmer, and pretend that the later characters are decendants of the original. The Wold Newton Universe is a fictional universe where Farmer postulates that famous characters from fiction are related to one another as decendants. On of the best uses of this concept was in his book Tarzan Alive which included a fictional geneology for Tarzan, the book was a "fictional biography" that was written as if Tarzan had really lived.

So in our modified game the John Wayne of She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is the ancestor of him in Green Berets. It's even more interesting when you discover wonderful things like that Merlin is the ancestor of Sherlock Holmes and Little John, or that Henry VII is the decendant of Quint the ship captain and Custer.

I'm still trying to figure out if Neo is the decendant of Ted Theodore Logan or him later in life. The whole time travel question adds new dimensions to the game.

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